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Thursday, November 02, 2006
Nintendo Picks GameStop, Toys "R" Us for Wii Launch

Nintendo said on Thursday that it chose GameStop Corp. and Toys "R" Us as the U.S. retailers that will host the launch of its new Wii video game console, which goes on sale on November 19

GameStop and Toys "R" Us have already taken Wii "pre-orders," in which customers are able to reserve a console in advance of the official launch.

With demand for the Wii already building, video game retailer GameStop and toy store Toys "R" Us said they had quickly run through the supply of consoles that they allotted for the early orders.

The Wii launch will take place two days after Sony's PlayStation 3 hits U.S. stores, marking the start of the holiday shopping season when video game makers traditionally reap more than half of their annual sales.

In a repeat of Microsoft's introduction of the XBox 360 last year, the Wii and the PS3 are expected to be in short supply as demand outstrips the companies' ability to turn out the new devices.

The Wii comes with a motion-sensing controller that lets players simulate swinging a tennis racquet, hitting a golf ball or wielding a sword. Its $249.99 price tag is a fraction of the cost of the PlayStation 3, which is priced at $499.99 or $599.99 depending on features.

Toys "R" Us' flagship Times Square store in New York and GameStop's Universal CityWalk store in Los Angeles will host the official launch event.

While other consumer electronics retailers, such as Best Buy Co Inc. and Circuit City may also start selling the unit at midnight on the 19th, the partnership could mean that Toys "R" Us and GameStop may have access to better Wii supplies.

The "official" Nintendo midnight launch events at Toys "R" Us and GameStop will feature live music and entertainment, and a countdown to the moment that the console goes on sale.

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